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AsiaGlobal Voices

Trending Opinions From Across the Region

AsiaGlobal Voices is a curated feed of summaries of opinion articles, columns and editorials published in local languages in media from across Asia.

The publication of AsiaGlobal Voices summaries does not indicate any endorsement by the Asia Global Institute or AsiaGlobal Online of the opinions expressed in them.

A Populist Revolt in the Stock Market
Tuesday, February 2, 2021
A Populist Revolt in the Stock Market

Randy David, sociologist and journalist, in his Public Lives column in the Philippine Daily Inquirer (January 31, 2021)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: Stephan Mosel)

A Populist Revolt in the Stock Market

It has been a crazy week in Wall Street, where the entire financial services industry of the United States, including the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq, is located. The place has become the epicenter of a populist revolt being waged by small “amateur” retail investors against those they perceive to be the grand manipulators of the financial markets – hedge fund managers, brokerage firms, gigantic investment houses, and their enablers in the mainstream media.

These insurrectionists of the stock market are mobilizing an army that is driven not mainly by profit but by a passionate resentment against the rapacious few that make money at the expense of everyone else. Their most hated targets are the so-called “short-sellers” – professional investors that make their money from driving down the value of certain stocks by dumping them and then buying them back at a lower price.

Mostly young people who have basically known no other reality but that of the digital world, the stock markets’ new warriors are leveraging their mastery of the internet to challenge the power of the entrenched financial oligarchy. It is easy to mock this development as nothing but the fanciful protest of a digital generation that is out to remake the global order using the virtual weapons at their disposal. 

I am not so sure. If one can imagine a global anarchist movement rising up against entrenched hierarchies – brought together and empowered by an online communication system, and able to operate synchronously across time zones, geographic boundaries, and functional domains – it’s not difficult to see in this stock market revolt a portent of something more encompassing and radical than the “reset” of the capitalist system that the Davos thinkers have in mind.


Understanding the Low Birth Rate
Monday, February 1, 2021
Understanding the Low Birth Rate

Kim Se-jeong, counsel at SSW Pragmatic Solutions, in JoongAng Sunday (January 9, 2021)

Summary by Soomi Hong (Photo credit: Hippopx)

Understanding the Low Birth Rate

This is the first year since the start of the national registration system that the death rate has exceeded that of births. The birth rate in Korea for the past two years has been 0.9, lowest among the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) nations. It is clear that Korean women do not want, or are unable, to have children and society must try to understand the cause of the problem to solve it.

In a Korean society, there is incredible pressure to stick to “normal” family structures, consisting of a formal union between a man and woman. Every other form of family such as single parenthood, divorced or informal cohabitation is deemed inappropriate and subject to prejudice. Imagine a person seeking employment having to make known to a prospective employer that he/she is not married but has a child. The immense pressure and opprobrium would discourage child-rearing despite the nation’s desperate need for more children.

Even in “normal” families with children, child-rearing is no easy task and is especially cumbersome in a society built on competition and conformity. According to the ministry of Health and Welfare, there were over 40,000 reported cases of child abuse and 42 related child deaths in 2019 alone. Korean society obviously not only needs more children but also a better system to take care of existing children and their parents.

Considering all this, it is outrageous to find “advice” on the Seoul Center for Pregnancy website for pregnant women to be considerate of their husbands’ lack of cooking skills when the mothers go to hospital and to brace themselves for losing weight after giving birth. It really is no surprise that Korean women are not having babies.


The Government Must Guarantee the Freedom to Criticize the Ruling Party
Tuesday, January 26, 2021
The Government Must Guarantee the Freedom to Criticize the Ruling Party

Chen Fu, professor and Director of the General Education Center at National Dong Hwa University, in China Times (December 30, 2020)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: Solomon203)

The Government Must Guarantee the Freedom to Criticize the Ruling Party

Yazhou Zhoukan (“Asia Weekly”) is a Hong Kong-based magazine read by Chinese intellectuals all over the world. While mainland authorities have banned subscriptions, it has always taken a middle path approach, respecting the “one country, two systems” principle, even with the challenging political situation in Hong Kong. It has tried to present both points of view on cross-strait issues.

The latest issue has generated controversy as it depicts Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen in royal garb from the Qin Dynasty, smiling on a throne, with her administration characterized as a “dictatorship”. This has prompted a ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) spokeswoman to claim that the publication is a mouthpiece for the Beijing government. Is this claim true?

Yazhou Zhoukan uses the words "Republic of China" in news reports without quotation marks. This alone shows that the mainland authorities respect Hong Kong’s freedom of speech and press. The DPP, however, continues to claim that the media is actively suppressing Hong Kong’s freedom and democracy. Ironically, in the latest issue, Yazhou Zhoukan interviews DPP politicians to discuss Tsai’s governance. Yet it is considered pro-Communist. 

Under the more-and-more restricted political environment in Taiwan, criticizing the government has become dangerous. As a result, most intellectuals have been silenced. Not only has the Chung T’ien Television News channel been shut down, but from February 1 this year, the publishing of books authorized by mainland publishers will first need to be approved by the Taiwan Ministry of Culture. The DPP cannot allow people in Taiwan the freedom to criticize only the Communist Party of China. They must also guarantee the freedom to criticize the DPP. 


Vaccine Multilateralism is the Best Way forward
Monday, January 25, 2021
Vaccine Multilateralism is the Best Way forward

Goh Choon Kang, former journalist and member of the Singapore Parliament from 1984 to 199, in Lianhe Zaobao (December 30, 2020)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: Lisa Ferdinando/ US Department of Defense)

Vaccine Multilateralism is the Best Way forward

With Switzerland, Singapore co-chairs the Friends of the COVAX Facility initiative. COVAX is the Global Coronavirus Vaccine Global Access, a multilateral mechanism led by the World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure the fair global distribution of Covid-19 vaccines. So far, 190 countries and economies have signed up, and nearly two billion vaccine doses have been obtained. The US and Russia have not joined.

Singapore has supported this initiative from the very beginning, contributing US$5 million (S$6.64 million) in December. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has encouraged countries to focus on establishing partnerships to promote vaccine multilateralism as this is essential for coordinating international response plans. Singapore looks forward to cooperating with the European Commission and like-minded countries, as well the WHO and other partners, not only in developing vaccines but also in distributing them to all countries fairly and quickly.

The emergence of vaccine multilateralism is a response to vaccine nationalism. The People's Vaccine Alliance (a coalition of organizations and activists, coordinated by Oxfam and UNAIDS, aimed at campaigning for a “people’s vaccine” for Covid-19 that would be freely available to everyone everywhere as a global common good) has warned that rich countries are hoarding excessive amounts of vaccines, several times more than their citizens. The population of wealthy countries accounts for only 14 percent of the world's population yet they now have 53 percent of the most promising vaccines, with Canada, the US and the UK holding the most doses. Meanwhile, in the world’s 67 poorest countries, only 10 percent of the population are expected to be vaccinated before the end of 2021.

Covid-19 is a common enemy of mankind and only when the entire population of the world is immune can everyone be safe. The facts show that vaccine multilateralism is the best way forward.


The Shameless Governing Class Sows Division for Political Gain
Wednesday, January 20, 2021
The Shameless Governing Class Sows Division for Political Gain

Yang Sung-hee, editor at JoongAng Ilbo Plus, in JoongAng Sunday (December 26, 2020)

The Shameless Governing Class Sows Division for Political Gain

Perhaps history is but a repetition of people in hardship scapegoating each other. This psychology may help explain why conspiracy theories flourish at the turn of every crisis and disaster. In the US alone, there is a wide variety of allegations ranging from Bill Gates purposely spreading the coronavirus so that he can profit from vaccines to microchips secretly being implanted in serum. Despite the craziness, a whopping 30 percent of Americans believe in such stories. This may be just about humans trying to survive an unreasonable crisis.  

Be that as it may, for ordinary citizens, the responsibility to ensure a cohesive functioning society falls on the people of governing class and the media. In a crisis, they have a duty to calm the general population’s uneasiness and fears and work together to bring back reason and a sense of normalcy. 

On the streets these days, however, it has become all too easy to overhear outrageous conspiracy theories centered on politicians and probably spread by politicians to serve their ambitions. People talk and believe that Covid-19 has been purposely left to spread so that the long-awaited timing of the vaccines will coincide with a by-election. Others believe that social-distancing measures will be tightened only after the president’s artist son finishes his exhibition. 

More outrageous than these theories is the shamelessness of the governing class in using division and scapegoating for political gain. The media exaggerate unfounded theories to gain traffic. The political class uses the crisis to defame others and score political points. These are all sad examples of how our system is failing miserably. The thriving coronavirus politics is more tiring than the pandemic.


The US Capitol Siege: Lessons From An Embattled Democracy
Tuesday, January 19, 2021
The US Capitol Siege: Lessons From An Embattled Democracy

Leila de Lima, lawyer, human-rights activist and Senator in police detention since 2017, in Rappler (January 18, 2021)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: Blink O’fanaye)

The US Capitol Siege: Lessons From An Embattled Democracy

For those who idealized the United States, including Americans themselves who truly believed that America is the greatest nation in the world, the events of January 6 were shockingly unimaginable.

For those who see through the facade of “America the Great” and see the brewing discontent underneath that has gone unaddressed for decades and even centuries, this is but the culmination of the hypocrisy behind American domestic and foreign policies. But this is more than a case of a nation getting its comeuppance. The truth is that every nation – no matter how prosperous or destitute it is – would be built upon the different experiences of different peoples. In the case of the United States, for every millionaire, there are a million who do not have the same economic and social security.

I, for one, am rooting for the United States as always. It may not be as united or as great as it projects itself to be, but it is nonetheless closer to greatness than authoritarian regimes for one simple reason: it has created a space for people to be able to live with dignity. That it is not yet perfect, or not as inclusive as it could be at the moment, is no reason to throw away the ideals it fights and stands for: Democracy, Rule of Law, and Human Rights. In fact, it is more reason to keep striving for improvement and inclusiveness.

I will not make the mistake of counting the United States out. If there is a democratic country that has the capacity to restore balance and become truly great in the truest sense of the word, in the face of so many challenges both within and without, it would be the United States. And the free world would be in a better place for it.


Zuckerberg Did Not Ban Trump To Save Democracy
Tuesday, January 19, 2021
Zuckerberg Did Not Ban Trump To Save Democracy

Javed Anwer, technology editor, India Today, in Daily O (January 8, 2021)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes

Zuckerberg Did Not Ban Trump To Save Democracy

It is no coincidence that on the day US lawmakers formalized the election win of Joe Biden, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced a ban on Donald Trump. It seemed like a principled tech CEO standing up to stop the abuse of his platform. But the reality is different. It is a move as self-serving and odious as it can be.

The ban on Trump has nothing to do with saving democracy, as Zuckerberg says. It is a volte-face, an attempt to change colors before the new US administration takes the power and goes after Facebook. For years, Zuckerberg and Facebook turned a blind eye to everything the ultra-right and Trumpists did. It allowed them to communicate, to meet together, run campaigns that have no place in a civilized society, and amplify hate posts. All in the name of free speech. Facebook allowed and defended its actions again and again when its platforms were used to distribute misinformation and fake news.

Facebook is all about convenience and profit. Like other tech companies, Facebook might have built its empire on grand words – bringing people together, free speech, community and all that nonsense – but it too is hollow like the rest of the Silicon Valley. It is not about principles. It never is. This is the reason why in India Facebook gladly allows some politicians to say whatever they want, even if these lead to the poisoning of society or harm to people. The company will continue to play pal with regimes, even if they use Facebook in a way it should not be – that is, until the winds change. And then Facebook and Zuckerberg bend the way the wind is blowing.


The state must protect tenants during emergencies
Tuesday, January 19, 2021
The state must protect tenants during emergencies

Sonam Tshering, lawyer, in Kuensel (January 16, 2021)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes

The state must protect tenants during emergencies

The news of possible evictions and an increase in house rents particularly with no sign that the pandemic lockdown will be eased is a grave concern. The slogan of “stay home, stay safe” would be defeated unless the government immediately suspends evictions including the issuance of removal notices, threats of imposing late payment penalties, or increasing rents. The government went as far as suspending some laws such as pay-revision measures. His Majesty the King’s waiver of loan interest did not seem to have any positive impact on tenants.

Many countries issued a temporary ban on residential evictions to combat the pandemic’s economic effects, anticipating that many tenants will not be able to pay their rent. Our government so far has remained reluctant to take any action against landlords for political or other reasons.

When it becomes impossible to pay the rents due to state-imposed lockdowns or restrictions, failure to pay rents can be excused at least till such tenants can resume earning income. If landlords evict tenants by force or enter without permission, the tenant may report the matter to the police, possibly charge their landlords for harassment, assault, trespass, and other relevant provisions.

The government must understand that fighting against this pandemic does not mean mere lockdowns or threats of incarceration or testing or imposition of numerous restrictions depriving people of their livelihood. Since the fundamental right to livelihood has been deprived by the state, the state has the responsibility to protect these groups. With no indication that the lockdown will be eased any time soon, the least the government can do is immediately to issue orders suspending any form of eviction until the current situation normalizes.


Landlords Too May Be Hurting
Monday, January 18, 2021
Landlords Too May Be Hurting

Yang Jong-gon, journalist, in Seoul Economic Daily (December 15, 2020)

Summary by Soomi Hong (Photo credit: Jens-Olaf Walter)

Landlords Too May Be Hurting

The “benevolent landlord campaign” was started to encourage rich landlords to play their part in the pandemic by reducing or eliminating rent payment. Although the idea was conceived by the government to promote voluntary goodwill, it was not difficult to imagine how this could further divide people by pointing the finger at a group of “greedy” people. 

The truth is not all landlords are fabulously wealthy. In fact, there are many who funded their properties with loans, and given the ongoing recession and closures, it is not difficult to imagine their own financial strain. Closures of businesses lead to financial losses for property owners. Covid-19 does not discriminate. Everyone bleeds, whether they own or rent. 

To add fuel to the voluntary campaign, the non-abiding landlords may now face the risk of becoming outright criminals as the authorities are proposing to force a halving or even an elimination of rent payments altogether. If the goal is to help those in need, one might ask why not also help the landlords in distress. To ensure fairness, at the very least, they must also be offered an extended timeline for loan and interest payments. 

Favoring tenants’ concerns over those of landlords may be popular, but what is popular may not be fair. Before playing favorites among its constituents, the government must remember the risk of further dividing the public in this time when more mutual support and social cohesion are desperately needed.


Cremation Or Burial: A Choice Made By Neither Politics Nor Religion
Monday, January 18, 2021
Cremation Or Burial: A Choice Made By Neither Politics Nor Religion

Tharindu Dananjaya Weerasinghe, senior university lecturer, in The Island (January 13, 2021)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: Vlog Inc on YouTube)

Cremation Or Burial: A Choice Made By Neither Politics Nor Religion

There are many religious, social and cultural rituals and customs associated with death. We know that they are unique to each society, to each religion, and to each culture. Sociological and anthropological research studies show that whatever the rituals and customs, they are established for the benefit and restraint of the living.

Not all the decisions in a country should be made by politicians. When all the decisions in a country are made by politicians, everything in that country becomes chaotic. The government should not negotiate with politicians to resolve the issue of cremation of coronavirus deaths. For that, the government should negotiate with relevant religious leaders.

Not everything in a country or a society is governed by law. If the issue of the cremation of those who die of Covid-19 is a religious one, the solution must be found within the religion itself. If it is a cultural problem, solutions must be found in the culture concerned. If the cremation is forbidden by God’s order, what needs to be done at this moment is not to change the common law of the country, but to ask for God’s permission.

Environmental protection should also be at the top of the agenda to be implemented in the face of coronavirus deaths. It should be in the opinion of the experts who have studied scientifically what is happening to the groundwater layer of Sri Lanka by burying bodies. It cannot be determined by political or religious ideology or by what other countries are doing. 

Appropriately, the easiest solution for religious leaders is to pray to their God and seek God’s permission to cremate the dead. The permission will surely come from God, the embodiment of love and kindness.


Asia’s Rise Doesn’t Necessarily Mean the West’s Decline
Friday, January 15, 2021
Asia’s Rise Doesn’t Necessarily Mean the West’s Decline

Funabashi Yoichi, journalist and Chairman of the Asia Pacific Initiative, in The Japan Times (January 13, 2021)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: Shealah Craighead/The White House)

Asia’s Rise Doesn’t Necessarily Mean the West’s Decline

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought about a growing geopolitical perception of Asia’s rise and the decline of the West. While the pandemic has dealt a devastating blow to economies in both the East and West, East Asia has a much easier path to recovery. China is acting as an engine of growth. After emerging from the dark tunnel of the pandemic, East Asia may well be hailed as the winner and the West the loser.

The Covid-19 crisis could solidify the perception of Asia-Pacific Asianism that has arisen with China’s evolution into a global superpower. But the post-pandemic world is no seesaw game in which East Asia rises and the West falls. First, the pandemic is not yet over. No country in either East Asia or the West has found the optimal response to the pandemic that balances the three concerns of protecting citizens’ lives and health, the economy and livelihoods, and freedom and privacy.

The US-China conflict is another unknown. American distrust of China, which has deepened over the course of the Covid-19 crisis, is unlikely to lessen under the Biden administration. American values and strategic interests have been threatened by China’s military-civilian fusion industrial policy and its expanding “closed sphere of influence” in the Asia Pacific, its growing threat to the American way of life, and the weakening of the US network of alliances. Meanwhile, US allies and partners have high expectations for an American comeback in Asia.

East Asia has no desire to exist within a dichotomy, whether in relation to the United States and China, China and Japan, or East Asia and the West. Many East Asian countries rely on the US for their security and on China for their economy. They must retain some ambiguity to walk a delicate diplomatic tightrope.


The Helplessness Americans Feel
Thursday, January 14, 2021
The Helplessness Americans Feel

Rafia Zakaria, attorney teaching constitutional law and political philosophy, in Dawn (January 13, 2021)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: Joe Flood)

The Helplessness Americans Feel

Ever since 9/11, and arguably even prior to that, Americans believed that terrorism was a Muslim problem. Such was this belief that in the post-9/11 years the Department of Homeland Security was created to protect the US from Islamist militancy. And as everyone in South Asia and the Middle East experienced, that was hardly all of it.

In Afghanistan, where the 9/11 terrorists had hidden, a military campaign (still ongoing) killed hundreds of thousands of civilians. In Iraq, a functioning infrastructure of governance was dismantled, nearly a million innocent Iraqis were killed and several millions more rendered refugees. The weight of the cumulative carnage spanned decades and its true measure is still not known. In the US, every Muslim became a terror suspect, and mosques were filled with undercover FBI agents trying to find terrorists.

Those days lasted until Jan 6, 2021. Until then, and despite the rising number of home-grown white supremacist terror attacks, Americans still believed that terrorism was a Muslim problem, inextricably tied to something about the faith. If anyone, particularly a Muslim, interjected, the retort would be something like, “Yes, maybe not all terrorists are Muslim, but so many are”. It would be the beginning of a pointless argument, the only value of which was how it exposed the extent of American Islamophobia.

Perhaps Americans who are watching in disbelief can use this time to consider the position of Pakistanis who watched their country slip into chaos and carnage for the entire duration of America’s so-called war on terror. The helplessness they feel is the helplessness that Pakistanis felt – wanting to do something but not knowing what to do, also knowing that the intoxications of extremist ideology are such that those who have been affected by them cannot be easily converted to reason and rationality.


The Government Has Caused Enough Confusion about Covid-19
Tuesday, January 12, 2021
The Government Has Caused Enough Confusion about Covid-19

Pravit Rojanaphruk, Senior Staff Writer, in Khaosod (January 10, 2021)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: The Government Public Relations Department, Office of the Prime Minister)

The Government Has Caused Enough Confusion about Covid-19

Confusion, confusion and more confusion can be expected if the government does not learn from its missteps. As it tries to contain the second outbreak of coronavirus, new regulations were passed, then hours later repealed. It was not clear which parts of the country would be in lockdown, when in-house dining at Bangkok restaurants would end, or whether use of the contact-tracing app is mandatory. Things change with little notice.

The government of General Prayut Chan-ocha is like a cook trying to come up with a dish by catering to various tastes. In this case, the prime minister is trying to strike a balance between protecting public health and safeguarding the economy. Face it – the government cannot keep on borrowing money and avoid the economy sinking into an abyss. Prayut must have learned that by now you cannot save people if you push more of them into unemployment and destitution.

So instead of imposing a nationwide lockdown, the government will not even use the word because doing so would imply there would have to be state compensation for workers. Bear with Prayut and his men while they try to figure out how much of a non-lockdown lockdown is too much or too little. We could have expected better communication among themselves, better coordination and more certainty before issuing orders.

Confusion over restaurant dine-in rules, for example, shows that Prayut, despite trying to relegate authority to all governors to decide how best to control the outbreak, still clings to power and will reverse decisions by others to whom he relegated powers if he disagrees with them. For Prayut, decentralization is easier said than done. Let us hope there will be fewer U-turns, more listening, greater sincerity and less confusion. The public deserves better.


Neglecting Renewables Could Undermine Energy Independence
Tuesday, January 12, 2021
Neglecting Renewables Could Undermine Energy Independence

Elrika Hamdi, energy finance analyst at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) Indonesia, in The Jakarta Post (January 8, 2021)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: US International Development Finance Corporation)

Neglecting Renewables Could Undermine Energy Independence

The government is arbitrarily creating a domestic market for energy products that other countries are moving away from. But undergoing an energy transition is now inevitable for every country. No country is immune to the rapid disruption occurring in the global energy sector. Renewables are now cheaper than any fossil fuel in most parts of the world.

Indonesia is no exception. The sharp decline in power demand due to slower economic growth has forced the State Electricity Company (PLN) carefully to rethink its investment plans. Going forward, it is committed to providing clean and sustainable energy for Indonesia in line with government expectations, a measure likely to be attractive to ESG (environment, social and governance) investors.

Despite this, the government appears to favor the opposite strategy. While nations across the globe are competing to accelerate the development of inherently deflationary technologies in solar, wind and storage, the Indonesian government seems to be focusing on centuries-old technologies that have previously failed to gain market share.

Indonesia is blessed with many energy options. The government’s concerted effort to use conventional domestic fuel sources, albeit with good intentions, is contrary to the global, technology-driven energy trends of the last five years. Indonesia has many renewable and sustainable fuel options that could be prioritized instead. For instance, solar and wind are free and have no related price risk.

When considering investments in increasingly obsolete energy infrastructure, the government should weigh the costs of achieving energy independence and the subsidies required to feed fuel sources of the past. Investing in cheaper, deflationary renewable energy projects is the better option for PLN and the government.


Do Not Gloat Over Disarray in the US
Tuesday, January 12, 2021
Do Not Gloat Over Disarray in the US

Sandip Roy, radio host and novelist, in The Times of India (January 9, 2021)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: Marco Verch Professional Photographer)

Do Not Gloat Over Disarray in the US

The images of rioting Donald Trump supporters running amok through the halls of the US Capitol were shocking. But many around the globe were surely smirking that the self-appointed moral policeman of the world not only had feet of clay but also wore Viking horns and furs.

Many parts of the globe from Chile to Iran know only too well that the United States happily jettisons its own pieties about democracy when inconvenient. Ever since the bitter elections and its chaotic aftermath, the US has been understanding the meaning of schadenfreude, the pleasure one feels in the misfortune of others. A Chinese state-owned tabloid put out side-by-side images of Hong Kong protesters storming the city’s legislature in 2019 and Trump supporters inside the Capitol building.

The Indian police have been accused often of watching passively when people were being beaten up by goons. We shake our heads when Trump tweets, “There are things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots.” But an Indian Prime Minister once seemed to downplay a full-on massacre when he said, “When a big tree falls, the ground shakes.”

What happened in the US might feel shocking but it is not so surprising. Trump’s election had given majoritarianism on steroids a new mainstream respectability. But we gloat at our own peril. While we point fingers, in the words of the poet WB Yeats, at what rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches towards the Capitol to be born, we forget that this creature, pumped up by conspiracy theories, fake news, and nationalist resentments, is not unique to America at all. Neither is it just slouching anymore.